Courgettes are ready for their harvest this season and as well as being one of the nation’s most well-loved vegetables, they are also incredibly versatile veggies. Whether you are cooking, steaming, spiralising or baking your courgettes, they will always provide you with a tasty treat that can be enjoyed by everyone.

Here at Nutley’s we have complied a creative collection of ideas on how best to enjoy your home-grown (or shop bought) courgettes. This is also the first in our ‘Top of the Crops’ series in which we recommend the funkiest and fun way to appreciate your home-grown vegetables once they are ready for harvest!

COURGETTE PASTA

Using a peeler, peel the courgette into long thin slices. Depending on the size of your courgette and how many people you are serving then, use suitable amounts. For each person, we would recommend one standard size courgette.

You can find links to our peelers here.

Courgette pasta is not only a nice change to your normal lunch or dinner routine, it is also a great way to cut down on calories and carbohydrates.

Just simply use your choice of peeler, spiraliser or mandolin to create noodle like curls of courgette, ready to be placed in a colander or strainer. Then squeeze out the water from your veg, either by hand or using a weighted object. If you are using the later, try and let your courgette pasta drain from an hour to a day – the longer you leave it to drain, the harder and better your pasta will be. We’d also recommend coating your courgette with a couple of teaspoons of salt to help the drying process, being sure to rinse or brush off the salt afterwards.

Once the pasta is dried, you can eat it raw or pop it in a saucepan to warm it up, splashing in some olive oil too.

You can then eat the veggie pasta as is, or use it as a replacement for your normal wheat pasta. If you would like to add a little something to mix it up, add some feta cheese and tomatoes, red bell peppers, basil and try it with some mashed avocado and olive oil.

Delicious.

COURGETTE SLICES

Once again courgette can be a great alternative to starchy foods such as pasta and potato: chips, or fries, are no exception. A super tasty treat which is healthier for you then potato fries and are just as moreish. The recipe is so simple and quick too – an added bonus!

Take a handful of your home-grown courgettes, between three to four, and cut them up into small rectangular shapes, replicating the shape of a standard chip. Put your oven on about 210°C, 180°C for fan-assisted ovens, and line a baking tray with foil and olive oil.

After dicing your courgette, place two eggs in a small bowl and put to one side. Then make up a bowl of breadcrumbs and add some cheese for an extra mouth-watering ingredient, parmesan, cheddar or mozzarella are great choices and you’ll need around a quarter to a half a cup of the cheese of your choice. Once both your eggs and breadcrumbs are ready in two separate bowls, dip the courgette in the egg followed by the breadcrumb mix and then place on your baking tray. Repeat this step with all of your courgette pieces. Season how you desire and then place in the oven for 30 minutes until golden and crispy – turning the chips once when in the oven.

You can also do the same with slices of courgette instead of these rectangle blocks, using a mandoline to slice your veg into rectangular disks. Follow the same process of coating with eggs and breadcrumbs but instead of baking in an oven, try frying in a pan for a quick and easy warm snack.

You can find links to our mandolines here. 

COURGETTE CAKE

Courgettes are known for retaining a lot of water so make the perfect partner for a moist cake mix. There are plenty of recipes online for chocolate cake mixes which incorporate courgette, one that is a winner with garden and allotment owners is a courgette, orange and carrot cake which is also freezeable.

Preheat your oven to 180°C, 160°C for fan-assisted ovens, and grease two round tins ready for your mixture. Beat 250g of butter, or try coconut oil in the same proportions for a healthier alternative, 150g of light muscovado sugar, 3 large eggs and 200g wholemeal self-raising flour. Then add a teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda and the zest from two oranges and a teaspoon of mixed spice, in addition to 100g of courgette and 100g carrot – both grated.

Separate into two tins and bake for 20-25 minutes and let it cool. Once cooled you create an icing sugar paste using 140g of icing sugar and add in some more zest from an orange and some of its juices. Drizzle over both of the cake and let it harden. You can freeze the cakes or eat it up after applying icing. Enjoy with friends or as a special treat!

COURGETTE COCKTAILS

Like your Martinis shaken not stirred? How about with the main ingredient being your home-grown courgette? This funky recipe is quick and easy and can be made in a matter of minutes.

Grate your courgette and add the juice of two lemons and two tablespoons of sugar and leave it to steep for an hour. We recommend the juice of two lemons and one courgette per serving. Whilst this is immersing, place your desired amount of martini glasses in the fridge. One your mixture has been left for an hour, strain it through a sieve and place it into a jug. Then pour your mixture over ice (25ml per glass) and add 25ml of vermouth and 50ml gin per serving. Then add to your glass and it’s ready to drink!